Blues/Folk Beat: Cat Stevens, B.B. King, Elvin Bishop ...

'70s pop star turned away by Israeli officials; Riding With the King to be released on vinyl; Bishop album due.

Seventies pop star Cat Stevens, born Stephen Georgiou but known since the late '70s as Yusuf Islam, was detained at an Israeli airport and then turned away by Israeli officials Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported. The 51-year-old "Peace Train" singer, who was ordered to return to Germany, is on a government list of undesirables based on his support for the Islamic militant group Hamas. ...

Warner Bros. Records has announced plans to offer the 12 songs from the hit B.B. King and Eric Clapton album Riding With the King in a series of 7-inch singles. The tracks will be issued in two series of three records each, starting with the John Hiatt–penned "Riding With the King" backed with "Key to the Highway," "Worried Life Blues" backed with "Days of Old" and "Come Rain or Come Shine" backed with "Ten Long Years." ...

Songwriter and guitarist Elvin Bishop's recording of three sold-out shows at San Francisco's Biscuit and Blues club in January with mentor Little Smokey Smothers will be released Aug. 1 by Alligator Records. That's My Partner! honors Smothers' influence on Bishop from the time they spent together in Chicago when Bishop was a student at the University of Chicago in the early '60s. In the '60s, Bishop began an apprenticeship in the blues that led him to become a founding member of the Butterfield Blues Band before moving West and launching his solo career. Included on That's My Partner! are Bishop chestnuts including "Travelin' Shoes" and Smothers compositions such as "Annie Mae" and "Pleading With You." ...Alligator also announced that it has signed New Orleans blues pianist Marcia Ball and plans to release an album by her early next year. ...

Ani DiFranco, Gillian Welch and Suzzy Roche are only a few of the female artists who have committed to a Red House Records project called Driftless. The album, a tribute to folk singer/songwriter Greg Brown, will benefit breast cancer research. Also featured on the disc will be Lucinda Williams, Iris Dement and three of Brown's daughters performing "Ella Mae," a song about Brown's maternal grandmother. Although the project is in its early stages, still more artists are expected to join. It's due next year. ...

Laurie Lewis, the Osborne Brothers and the Seldom Scene are confirmed acts at the Grand Ole Opry's Bluegrass Jamboree July 22–23. The festival, part of the Grand Ole Opry's two-month-long 75th anniversary celebration, will feature arts and crafts and two stages worth of performing bluegrass artists. ... Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch's live album 11/12/13 — Live From Melbourne is the most added record this week on the Gavin Americana chart. ... Peter Mulvey's performance of Acoustic Cafe, a nationally syndicated radio program, is scheduled to air the week of July 24. Also scheduled to appear that week is singer Terry Radigan. For more information visit acafe.com. ...

Delta blues singer/songwriter and guitarist Catfish Keith has released "The Country Blues Guitar of Catfish Keith," an 80-minute instructional video on Homespun Tapes. The tape will offer lessons in how to play some of Keith's most well-known songs, such as "Eagle Bird" and "Brown Skinned Gal." ... Songwriter Mark Selby is set to release his debut solo album, More Storms Comin', on Sept. 26 on Vanguard Records. Well known for his writing on Kenny Wayne Shepherd's latest album Live On — he's credited on eight songs — Selby's work with partner Tia Sillers earned him a Grammy Award in 1999 for "There's Your Trouble." ...

Coming up on the Web from the recent Bishopstock festival in Britain is a webcast of Susan Tedeschi's recent performance, scheduled for July 14. Visit virtuetv.com for more information. ... Webcasts from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival scheduled include: Jamal Batiste, Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band; C.J. Chenier and the Red Louisiana Band (July 14); Reggie Hall, Russell Batiste and Charmaine Neville (July 17); and Chocolate Milk, David Lindley and Lyle Lovett with Jimmy Buffett (July 18). All shows start at 4 p.m. PDT. ...

Willie Nelson has been working for some time on the blues album Milk Cow Blues. The Island Records set is scheduled for release at the end of August and features collaborations with B.B. King, Dr. John, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi, Jimmie Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Francine Reed and Keb' Mo'. ...

New Zealand actor/musician Russell Crowe, who stars in the film "Gladiator," will play the famed Stubb's Bar-B-Q in Austin, Texas, with his band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. The group tackles everything from rap to country, and tickets for their shows Aug. 4, 11 and 18 are being auctioned off for more than $300 a pair on eBay.com. While in Austin, Crowe and his bandmates will also begin recording their next album. ...

Singer/songwriter John Hiatt's new album, Crossing Muddy Waters, will be released Sept. 26 on Vanguard Records. Besides regular retail outlets, the all-acoustic album also will be available online at emusic.com. ...

Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson, and Pete Seeger are just a few of the notable artists interviewed in David Crosby's "Stand and Be Counted," a documentary on music and activism in the past 40 years. Crosby — whose "What Are Their Names," off his star-studded solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, was itself an eloquent call for social change — said he was surprised that no books or films have been made about music and political activism. He began compiling concert footage, news footage and interviews with prominent artist and activists. Clips from political benefits, Live Aid, Farm Aid and the Tibetan Freedom Concert, to name just a few, will be blended with backstage stories of the preparations and creation of these types of events. The documentary also will feature Joan Baez, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Peter Gabriel. The documentary will premiere on the Learning Channel Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 22 and 23 at 9 p.m. EDT. ...

The Indigo Girls' Amy Ray and '60s girl band legend Ronnie Spector will be keynote speakers at this year's Rockrgrl Music Conference in Seattle. The conference, which celebrates the achievements of women in the music industry, will be held Nov. 2–4. It will offer three nights of music and workshops followed by an awards banquet. Visit the official Web site for more information (www.rockrgrl.com). ... The Derailers, Lee Roy Parnell and Kim Richey will appear on the Monday (July 17) edition of "Western Beat With Billy Block" on CMT. The television series is based on Block's radio show and offers live performances and backstage interviews. ...

Lead Belly's Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs, Lucinda Williams' Ramblin', and material by blues great Lightnin' Hopkins are among the 272 albums that Smithsonian Folkways has made available for purchase, at $1.49 a track, in Liquid Audio format. The Smithsonian Folkways' Web site is: web2.si.edu/folkways/news.htm.

— sonicnet.com staff report